I keep thinking of the long slow dull grinding down that some kids experience at school; so few experiences of real achievement, so few learning highlights to spark up their day.
There was not a single day in Year 3 when Lucie simply stopped being able to read. It had been single day after single day, three years of single days, every week, every term, every year. As other children in her class gained skills, could sit and read books, even chapter books, Lucie had not read a whole sentence correctly, not a page and could not imagine reading a whole book.
Not being able to read is a slow day-by-day loss, loss of enthusiasm, loss of confidence, loss of interest.
But single days make a reader when we manage the learn-to-read content of each day. Single days of achievement can build confidence sure, but, better still, they can build the expectation that each day should deliver a good learning experience.
So we, adults, educators, have a choice, no not a choice, a responsibility. Make each day count as a reading achievement day.
It all starts with knowing the number words that are being read. Learning begins with access to learning opportunities. Lucie needs to read enough words each to give her the opportunity to learn.
Just knowing the number of words being read won’t make Lucie a reader. But if we do two things, we can make her a reader. Know how many words she can read correctly on day 1. Tell her the words that she doesn’t know so that she can read them correctly then see how many words she can read correctly on day 2 and day 3-4-5. Let her see what progress she can make in a single day.
Read enough words to make progress. Practice reading words correctly. Compare how many words are known day-by-day.
A single day, of reading can make the difference. A single day of reading, day-after-day, can make a reader.